This is NOT the Nobel Symposium panel with Jeff Sachs and others, for which the video isn’t available yet. It IS a 3-minute clip of a talk Bill gave at the Swedish think tank Timbro while he was in Stockholm.
From the Wall Street Journal, by Daniel Lippman:
European settlement had a longstanding positive effect on economic development in countries that were colonies, notwithstanding the terrible effects of Western diseases and political oppression that often resulted, according to new research.
The paper, titled “The European Origins of Economic Development,” was written by New York University’s William Easterly and UC Berkeley’s Ross Levine, who set out to build a new comprehensive database of the European share of the population in the early phases of colonization. It also looked at the impact of the settlers on the former colonies’ economic development today.
In an “illustrative exercise” that the two professors run in their paper, they find that “47% of average global development levels today are attributable to Europeans.”
What could accounts for that large number? The paper argues that it could partly be explained because “Europeans brought growth-promoting characteristics — such as institutions, human capital, connections with international markets, and cultural norms — that diffused to the rest of the population over generations.”
A large number of commentators generously congratulated the authors on being obvious, wrong, and racist.
You may find the NBER link to the paper above to be restricted. If so, here is an unrestricted link.
By Gregg Gonsalves
Lant Pritchett—a Professor of the Practice of International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School—has been leading a campaign against the election of Jim Kim to the World Bank presidency. While he isn’t the only critic of Dr. Kim’s nomination, he is among the most vocal, prominent and well known. Though his views are his own, many of them have been amplified and echoed by other leading development economists like William Easterly at New York University and several people associated with the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC.
Over the past few weeks, Pritchett has questioned Kim’s qualifications, saying a lack of training in economics and experience in world finance should disqualify him from consideration for the post. He has further suggested that the nomination is about the arrogance of American power and hegemony over the institution and that he should step aside for a merit-based election in which the Nigerian candidate for the post, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a World Bank, Harvard and MIT alum and finance minister of Nigeria would sweep to victory. Read More →
The new US nominee for World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, has some surprising opinions on the effects of economic growth. The BBC World Business Report interviewed both Bill Easterly and Abhijit Banerjee on the controversy.
Listen to the 9-minute interview here: